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The paperless office was supposed to help save the planet, and we all think that a PDF has less impact on the environment than a paper document, but it's not that simple. The digital industry has grown so quickly that it uses a vast amount of electricity, which mostly comes from fossil fuels. Switching to a renewable electricity supplier and a green hosting company will enormously reduce your CO2 emissions.

 

Are newspapers a cleaner read online? According to the recent report 'An Inefficient Truth' by Global Action Plan, the UK's IT carbon footprint is similar to the aviation industry's. In 2005 it required 14 power plants, of 1,000 megawatts each, to keep the world's data centres online. Launching CO2stats.com last month - where you can usefully measure the carbon footprint of your blog or website - US experts estimate that the internet overall is responsible for 100bn lbs of CO2 emissions every year.

Extract from article by Lucy Siegle in the Observer Jan 20th 2008
http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/experts/lucysiegle/story/0,,2242573,00.html

The UK's IT Carbon Footprint is similar to the aviation industry's.

ICT equipment in the UK needs four nuclear power stations.

A medium sized server has roughly the same annual carbon footprint as an SUV vehicle doing 15 miles per gallon.

As mentioned above in Lucy Siegle's article, Global Action Plan's report, An Inefficient Truth, is an excellent report about energy use in the ICT sector. Here are some extracts from it.

ICT equipment accounts for about 10% of the UK’s total electricity consumption, or four nuclear power stations worth. Between 2000 and 2006, energy consumption from non-domestic ICT equipment increased by more than 70% and it is expected to grow by a further 40% by 2020.

The appetite for storing data has also vastly increased. In 2006, storage capacity from factories was over one exabyte (1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes), a growth of 48.5% in just one year. Compare this with the heavily lobbied aviation industry. UK airports handled 235 million passengers in 2006, an increase of nearly 3% on 2005. The use of ICT is growing at a faster rate than the increase in flying.

Putting aside the important issues of global warming and energy security, tackling the carbon footprint of ICT is simply good business practice. Being green will help organisations stay out of the red.It is estimated that a medium-sized server has roughly the same annual carbon footprint as an SUV vehicle doing 15 miles per gallon. The power required for a rack of highdensity server blades can be 10-15 times greater than a traditional server.

 

Avatars don't have bodies, but they do have footprints.

Your second life avatar consumes a bit less energy than a real person living in Brazil. Which means, in turn, that avatars aren't quite as intangible as they seem. They don't have bodies, but they do leave footprints. Looking at CO2 production, 1,752 kWH/year per avatar is about 1.17 tons of CO2. That's the equivalent of driving an SUV around 2,300 miles (or a Prius around 4,000).

www.roughtype.com/archives/2006/12/avatars_consume.php

Improve energy efficiency and use of renewable energy

Ensure re-use, recycling and responsible disposal of IT equipment

 

Connected, published by Forum for the Future, and sponsored by Sun Microsystems, confirms that the ICT industry has a compelling role to play in delivering a low carbon, sustainable future. To do this, the authors say, the ICT sector must move from a model based on ever increasing consumption of natural resources to a service-led future that is more efficient and less reliant on hard-wired solutions.

As the report indicates, by looking at the bigger picture, the opportunities for ‘greening’ the ICT sector actually lie, not in the production and use of ICT, but in its application.

You can download the PDF here
http://www.forumforthefuture.org.uk/node/1617

 

 

Useful links
Eco friendly DVDs

http://www.breed-media.co.uk/product/ecodisc-dvd

(but don't use them in an Apple Mac with a slot drive... )

Make your website environmentally friendly

CO2Stats Basic is a free tool that makes your website environmentally friendly. Whenever people view your web site or blog, they use electrically-powered computers and servers. To create electricity, power companies must burn fuels that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and cause global warming. CO2Stats monitors how much electricity is being used to power your site, and then it "offsets" the emissions by investing in renewable energy projects that help to counteract global warming. Their offsets are funded by advertising sponsors who are committed to making the Internet more environmentally friendly.

http://www.co2stats.com/

Old I.T. equipment   Ever wondered what happens to your old office I.T equipment? Have a look at these links from Greenpeace.
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/footer/search?q=computer
Towards greener computer equipment  

Laptops have a long way to go in order to really go green, but Fujitsu has certainly made an interesting attempt with their new corn-based polymer laptop
http://www.inhabitat.com/2008/01/09/ces-fujitsu-corn-based-laptop/#more-7895

Monitors which use no energy on standby
http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/11/12/monitor-draws-zero-power-on-standby/

VeryPC - environmental innovator of the year
http://www.very-pc.co.uk/

Move computing power to remote outposts  

The world's computing power should be moved from desktop computers and company servers to remote outposts where renewable energy such as wind and solar power is abundant, according to a Cambridge University computer expert.

Link here

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    This is one of a series of five factsheets.

1. The Studio
2. Innovation
3. Paper
4. Print
5. Digital

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